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GEORGIA ON MY MIND…..

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gracoman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 March 2019 at 09:10
How cool is that!  I am very much looking forward to the Sulguni and your take of both cheeses.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 April 2019 at 09:54
Lots of great-looking and sounding stuff, guys - keep up the great work!

Brook - The Crispy Fish with Walnut Sauce sounds great; I was wondering if you found any similarities between it and the Turkish dish with hazelnut sauce that you shared a few years ago, or if this is something entirely on its own?

When you get the chance, could you post the recipe (or your adaptation of it)?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 April 2019 at 13:16
Completely different, Ron.  This one uses a double-breaded filet, with the sauce drizzled over it.

Interestingly, there is no flour dip. Just a two-bowl set-up; eggs and panko breadcrumbs. You dip egg, crumbs, egg, and crumbs again.  I was concerned about the breading sticking, but it worked just fine.

As so often happens with chef-written cookbooks, the directions are needlessly complex. The recipe calls for using a food processor, a mortar & pestle, and a blender.  Lot's of luck. Even my mini-food processor couldn't handle the small amount of walnuts. The second time I made it I skipped all that, and blended everything but the mayo in my larger mortar. then used a whisk to blend in the mayo.  Here's the sauce recipe. It's said to make enough for 2+ pounds of fish:

1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground blue fenugreek (I used a 1/2 tsp regular fenugreek)
1 tsp grounf marigold
1/4 tsp ground red chili
7 oz mayonnaise

Place walnutes in a food processor and process to a very fine paste, which should be sticky and smooth, not grainy. This could take up to five minutes. (Ha! Even by hand with a pestle it didn't take but a minute)

Crush the garlic with the back of a knife and then put in a mortar with a pinch of salt. Grind with a pestle to a smooth paste and set aside.

Place the walnut and garlic pastes in a bowl with the ground coriander, fenugreek, marigold, and chili powder. Add 3 1/2 fluid ounces (a half cup, actually) water and, using your hands (a whisk works fine) bring the mixture together to form a smooth sauce. Transfer the sauce to a blender along with the mayonnaise (ha! Again!) along with the mayonnaise and blend until smooth. Season to taste and set aside. 

Since making the fish, we've used the sauce as a dip for shrimp, and with ham & cheese roll ups. It's all good. 

As I said, this over use of tools is a hallmark of chef-written cookbooks. Using the mortar & pestle, and blending everything with a whisk, didn't take me five minutes altogether.  And I didn't have all those power tools to wash. 

We made the original with haddock. But any firm white fish would work---cod, halibut, you name it. I'm thinking even mahi mahi.  Or even, other that the cost, sea bass.







But we hae meat and we can eat
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 April 2019 at 15:57
That does sound good, Brook -

I'm going to have to get my hands on some powdered marigold so I can explore a little more. The chicken dish we made last year was outstanding, and everything we've seen or read bout has given a very favourable impression.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 July 2019 at 13:45
Neknebi 
Georgian Pork Ribs
Adapted for the smoker from the book SUPRA A feast of Georgian Cooking

These pork loin ribs were marinated overnight in a mix of red Ajika (a complex red chili paste), grapeseed oil and apple cider vinegar. Georgians typically use grape vine for smoke wood but I was fresh out Wink  and used apple wood. The ribs were mopped every hour with the marinade, not for moisture (unnecessary in a ceramic smoker/grill) but for flavor enhancement.

These sliced pork ribs are served with a rich, thick, heavily spiced tomato based sauce made from sauteed onion and garlic, tomato paste, water, caster sugar, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, hot chili powder, ground black pepper, red ajika and a mixture of egg yolks and apple cider vinegar.  Garnished with fresh cilantro.






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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 January 2020 at 10:13

Several months ago I obtained a copy of Supra: A Feast of Georgian Cooking, the book Gracoman refers to above. With one thing and another, it’s only recently that I’ve started cooking from it.

Tiko Tuskalze, the author, grew up in Georgia, then moved to London, where, eventually, she opened the restaurant Little Georgia, where she prepares dishes based on the foods she grew up with. The recipes are interpretations of the foods her mother, grandmother, aunts, and family friends prepared. It doesn’t get much realer than that!

Although there are some dishes familiar to me from other sources, most of the book is composed of other classics, plus the best of Georgian home cooking. And, she seems to better focus on the iconic dishes of Georgia.  Pkhali, for example. Pkhali---vegetable pate’s---are a hallmark of a Georgian meal.  Most of my references provide recipes for two, or maybe three, examples, with a caveat that other vegetables are also used.  Tuskalze gives us no less than seven. She also provides three different recipes for ajika; the classic Georgian chili paste that appears at every meal.

All in all, it’s a delightful book. There are photos of the dishes, as one would expect. But also photos and drawings of family members and Georgian scenes.  I particularly like the anecdotes and memories she provides about life in Georgia.

As a book, I give it 5 stars!

That’s the good news.  The bad: if you cook from this book, read the recipes and ingredients very carefully. And be prepared to amend them.  The recipes suffer from the faults found in many chef-written cookbooks, which can be summed up in a simple phrase: nobody, apparently, could be bothered proof-reading them. And they obviously were not tested using home-kitchen equipment.

What we have, in many cases, are recipes in which the ingredients list and the directions are different or ambiguous, and cooking times can be, to say the least, erroneous.  Not insurmountable problems, by any means. But it can be off-putting.  Plus, if you’re not familiar with particular ingredients or cooking times, you’ll wind up with something all but inedible.

One example: In the recipe for lamb kebabs (Kebabi) we’re instructed to form the lamb mixture into sausage shapes (i.e., cigar shaped), brown them on all sides, then bake them in an oven at 400F for 18-20 minutes.  Do that, my friends, and I guarantee you’ll wind up with lamb-flavored shoe leather. 

That said, the recipes, when adapted as necessary, can be spectacular. We’ve made five dishes so far, and each of them is on our “make it again” list.  In addition, I’ve flagged eight others to try in the future.

The recipes below are how I adapted them, not necessarily directly as presented in the book. So, if any of them appeal, you should be good to go just following them. 

Enjoy!

KEBABI

(Georgian Lamb Kebabs)

Slightly different than, say, Persian or Turkish kababs, due to the herbs and spices used, the Georgian technique of pounding the meat in a bowl gives these kababs a firm, even texture.

1 tbls + 1 tsp sunflower oil                                                    

2 med onions, chopped fine

1 lb ground lamb  

2 garlic cloves

1 tbls dried basil   

½ tsp dried mint

Handful cilantro, chopped                                                     

1 tsp black pepper

½ tsp chili powder 1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp tomato paste dissolved in 1 tbls hot water

¼ tsp ground caraway

For garnish: Lavash bread, pomegranate molasses or ajika, parsley, red onion, and pomegranate seeds.

Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add the onions and cook for 5 minutes until soft and just starting to color. Set aside and cool to room temperature in a bowl. Once onions have cooled add all other ingredients. Mix well. Form into a ball and throw down into bowl with some force. Repeat several times.

Lightly wet hands and form mixture into 6 evenly sized balls. Form balls into fat cigar shapes, five or six inches long.

Heat remaining oil in the skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, add the kebabs, turning to brown on all sides. Transfer to preheated oven for 6-8 minutes to finish cooking.

To serve, put lavash bread on six plates and spread each with pomegranate molasses or ajika. Garnish with fresh parsley, sliced red onion, and pomegranate seeds before rolling

TEVSI MAIONEZIS SAUSIT

(Crispy Fish in Spiced Mayonnaise & Walnut Sauce)

I have tried double-breading in the past but all I got was a mess. This time it worked, so I’m doubly pleased with this dish.

2 lbs white fish filets                                                              

4 eggs, beaten

7 oz Panko breadcrumbs                                                        

3 ½ oz sunflower oil                                                              

Salt & pepper to taste

For sauce:             

¾ cup chopped walnuts                                                         

3 garlic cloves

1 tsp ground coriander                                                           

1 tsp ground fenugreek

1 tsp ground marigold                                                            

1/4 tsp red pepper

7 oz mayonnaise

Put walnuts in food processor and process to a very fine paste. Paste should be sticky and smooth.

Crush the garlic and put in mortar with a pinch of sea salt. Grind with a pestle to a smooth paste. Set aside.

Place the walnuts and garlic pastes in a bowl with the coriander, fenugreek, marigold and red pepper. Add 3 ½ ounces water and use hands to make a smooth sauce. Transfer to a blender with the mayonnaise and blend until smooth. Season to taste and set aside.

Put the bowl of eggs and one of crumbs side-by-side. One at a time, dip filets in eggs, then  in crumbs. When all filets are coated, repeat to create a double coating of breading.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once hot add the fish and cook one side until golden and crispy, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip the fish and cook reverse side for another 4 minutes.

Serve fish hot, with mayonnaise sauce drizzled over.

KATAMI SOKOTI

(Georgian Chicken with Mushrooms)

This dish appears to be a variation of Satsivi, done with chicken instead of turkey, and with the additional flavor level of the mushrooms. Call it what you will, it’s delicious.

2 lbs skinless-boneless chicken breasts

½+ cups sunflower oil                                                            

4 large onions, sliced thinly

1 lb button mushrooms, diced fine                                        

6 garlic cloves

1 tbls ground coriander                                                          

1 tbls summer savory

1 ½ tsp ground marigold                                                        

1 ½ oz unsalted butter

½ tsp chili powder

Salt

Seeds of one pomegranate

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add chicken breasts. Cook about 40 minutes until cooked through, drain, set aside to cool.

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and starting to color. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until all their liquid is gone, about ten minutes.

Meanwhile, shred the chicken into long strips and set aside.

Crush garlic and add to a mortar with a pinch of salt and grind to a smooth paste.

When mushrooms are ready, add the butter, coriander, savory, marigold, and chili powder, and stir to combine. Add the chicken and garlic paste to the pan; stir to combine, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to develop. If mixture seems too dry, add a little more oil. Season to taste with salt.

Divide mixture between serving plates and scatter pomegranate seeds over them.  

POMIDORI TKHILIT

(Georgian Baked Tomatoes with Hazelnuts)

I prefer using dry heat when peeling tomatoes, as it’s less messy But this Georgian technique, which I was previously unfamiliar with, is a good compromise between using a torch and using boiling water.

2 tbls olive oil      

2 lb ripe tomatoes

2 onions thinly sliced                                                             

½ cup hazelnuts

4 garlic cloves      

1 tsp dried coriander

1 red chili finely chopped                                                      

Small handful parsley leaves, chopped

Small handful cilantro, chopped                                                        

                    

Put 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan, then lay the tomatoes over, fitting snugly in one layer. Cover the pan and place over low heat for 5-10 minutes until tomatoes are slightly swollen and the skins have split.  Remove tomatoes from pan, peel and discard their skins. Slice the tomatoes into quarter and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring continuously until soft and just starting to color, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking, stirring, another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts to a coarse, wet paste. Add the garlic, ground coriander, chili, and fresh herbs and pulse again to combine.

Add the hazelnut paste to the pan with the tomatoes and return to heat. Cook over low heat, stirring continuously, for 10 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with additional parsley and cilantro.  Serve hot.

 SOKOS PKHALI NIGVIZIT

(Georgian Mushroom Salad with Walnuts)

This is a lovely dip or side dish. Although it's a pkhali, it's listed as a salad for some reason.

3 tbls sunflower oil                                  

 4 onions, finely chopped

 2 lbs button mushrooms, caps only, finely diced

 Scant 1 ¾ cups walnuts, chopped            

 1 tsp ajika

 Sea salt and pepper                                  

 Cilantro for garnish

Put oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring continuously, until soft and just starting to color, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring until liquid from mushrooms evaporates, about 10 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Put walnuts in a food processor and process to a very fine paste. Paste should be sticky and smooth, with no graininess. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the ajika, and season to taste.

When mushroom and onion mixture has cooled to room temperature, pour it over the walnut and ajika mixture and stir to combine, ensuring the mushrooms are well coated with the paste.

Place mixture on a serving platter and scatter cilantro over.

Can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve.


But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 January 2020 at 11:10
HF, I understand your "nobody, apparently, could be bothered proof-reading them" remark concerning cookbooks, but it may be just as likely chef/cookbook authors aren't interested in giving their secrets away.  Especially one with a successful and operating restaurant.  Who knows for sure but I've certainly run up against the same type recipe problems over and over again.  After a certain amount of kitchen experience has been acquired, these "misdirections" become obvious.

I recently watched a YouTube video of a YouTuber making SOS, of all things, for the first time by following cookbook directions.  You know.  Creamed chipped beef on toast.  The directions she was following never mentioned the salt content of dried beef.  The stuff is inedible straight out of the jar but she didn't know that.  Any experienced SOS chef knows this salted meat needs to be soaked and rinsed before making this wonderfully tasty glop. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 January 2020 at 20:15
That sort of thing is, unfortunately, quite common. If she'd have read the label, it would have told the tale.

 I've mentioned this more than once; the growth of people interested in learning to cook is a great thing. But we're in the second (sometimes third) generation of people who use the terms "cooking" and "microwaving" as synonyms. As a result, they lack the basics. Then, when the recipe doesn't work out, they blame themselves.

Back when I was writing cookbook reviews professionally, I did one about a book that was rift with those issues. Got an email from the author who said, "if you think they bothered you, imagine how I felt." I couldn't work up much sympathy. After all, she signed off on the proofs, and could have fixed them. 

But you're right, of course. Experience mitigates many of those problems. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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